Trembling Jaw (updated 1-16-08)

Update 1-16-08: I need some healp.

One of our Basenjis has recently started having what look like spasms in his lower jaw. Usually they happen when he is waking up or going to sleep, but we notice it more when he is waking up. His jaw will rapidly open maybe a half inch and close over and over, like he is chattering his teeth, but not really making contact when closed.

Many times, it seems like he will yawn, then do it maybe 4 or 5 seconds later, but he will do it even if he does not yawn as well. He will do it a few times, then stop.

My wife talked to the vet and she asked us to try to record it, which we did(when I get home, I can post the videos here maybe). She thought it was probably neurological and they want us to bring him in today for some tests. Any idea what kind of test they could do and has anyone heard of this before?

Please see my post below for more info.

From what you are describing to me it is common. We have a one year old who does that with his lower jaw when he is getting yelled at. I'll tell him No and he will immediately start to make those smacking sounds and his lower jaw will quiver. I don't know why he does this .

Two Years ago, we had another B who died of a neurological disorder. He was only a few mts old. He would have these tremors when he would first wake up. Almost like a seizure. Then he would snap out of it and seem fine. After a few weeks of this he started to wable while walking and fall over. We contacted a neurologist and was told that our little pup was ill.

Tucker also does this sometimes. Mostly when scolded or just after a 'confrontation' with another dog. I think it's something similar to when we (the humans) have a near miss with a car accident or almost trip and fall - the resulting adrenaline sometimes causes us to tremble a bit. Ya know?

@TuckerVA:

Tucker also does this sometimes. Mostly when scolded or just after a 'confrontation' with another dog.

I do it too when the wife scolds me, before and after a confrontation.:D
Can't help it.😕

I'm kidding!!!!!!:eek:

I've seen it various times, for various reasons…...sometimes if they've just smelled something unusual.

Nala chatters her teeth on occasion too. I've often wondered why…

I have seen him do it one or twice before, but for the last few weeks he pretty much does it every time he wakes up. Usually, he will yawn, then start doing it.

My wife took him to the vet and she saw it happen a little bit. They did a ton of blood work which all came back good so now they want to x -ray his head. She thinks it could be a result of TMJ or something and gave us some pain meds to see if it stops, but so far it has not. Who knows.

I will spend pretty much whatever it takes to keep the dogs healthy, but sure would not want to spend hundreds or eventually over $1000 for an MRI or something to find out there is nothing they can see is wrong.

OK, we took him in for a battery of tests and blood work and nothing. Then they gave us some pain meds in case it was TMJ issues (I thought only humans had problems there) which had no effect. We then took him in for an x-ray and they found nothing. Now, the vet is consulting with someone over at the NCSU Vet school in the Neurological dept as she feels this is the most likely cause.

I will definitely post a video of this when I get home (I assume Youtube is the way to go, but I have never used it) for people to see as the next step is most likely an MRI, which will probably be a couple grand. Not that I will not pay it, but I don't want to pay it based on the Vet's lack of having seen this in another dog before to then hear they found nothing wrong (well, I would be happy of course) since, given some of your descriptions, it sounds like it could be totally normal. It has not gotten any worse over the last few weeks, but then again, I would sure kick myself for not doing it if it could help the guy. I am just kind of stuck.

Is it common for pretty much all blood work to be fine if there is a brain tumor or nerological disease?

I'm sorry I can't help with the issue, but for the video you can also use Photobucket

Thanks, I use Photobucket for lots f forums pics and had forgotten about video there.

Here they are. The first is kind of dark and unfortunately he started doing it and I did not have time to mute the TV.

The next 2 are the next morning with a little more light.

You know I watched this and I really don't see anything that was not normal?

I watched and didn't see anything unusual either. When I took Max to a neurologist a few years ago, they suspected a tumor on a nerve at the base of his brain–and the dr told me the only way to know for sure was an MRI which was going to be a couple thousand dollars. Since the kind of tumor they suspected was inoperable and slow growing, I decided not to do the MRI since he was 14. He lived to be 16 with no problems from the suspected tumor. And yes--all his bloodwork and x-rays were all normal--I think that's usually the case for something that is only neurological. But if he hasn't actually seen the neurologist--I would take him in because the neurologist is much more experienced with that type of thing--and they can do some simple physical tests right there in the exam--so I think that would be well worth the money--I think I paid maybe 120 for an appt with the neurologist.

I could not see anything out of the ordinary either, I guess the video just didn't pick the problem up.😕

I think that if this was my B… I would not do anything and try "not" to focus on what seems to be going on.. and just let it play out for a few weeks...

The issue is definitely hard to see as it is just a quick blip. We tried to get some more this AM as he really does it the most then, my wife says he shakes his jaw so much it wakes her up in the morning. However, he did it very little and with all the lights on and me up there instead of dowstairs reading the paper, all the dogs where discombobulated, plus he was sedated for the x rays yesterday and his sleeping was erratic anyway.

I will say he defiitely did not do it prior to a few weeks ago.

I too am inclined to wait a little but the Vet is very concerned (and he did do it while he was in the exam toom weith her) and has my wife quite worried and upset about it. The neurologist is going to watch the video as well so we will see what he says.

OK, one more video. This one shows it better than anything else we have so far. Right after he yawns, he sticks his tongue out, then does it 4 times really quick. At the end, he does actually click his teeth.

The vet called and the neurologist does not think it is something that needs immediate action, so that has my wife a little calmer for now.

Yes–I saw it that time. That's good that the neurologist doesn't seem to think it's too serious. He sure is a little cutie pie.

Can I just say I luv your decor! I See what you are saying in the 1st. video…I'm not a vet, or doctor. but you mentioned that the vet gave you pain meds, just in case there was pain ,but the pain meds may have not fixed the problem. Muscle relaxt's and therapy to that joint would help it more. I'm not saying it isn't Neuro..but I'm just giving a thought. If it is TMD of the TMJ(joint) what can you do to relieve the tension of the underlying muscles/tendons that are holding it out of place or irritating the area. Try working in short , downward motion's near the ear and jaw area... pulling back slightly, working your way down the jaw. I can show you on video if you like, on my B. It's worth a shot and cost nothing. I'm a Massage Therapist and I have to say I mostly work with humans..but I do have some Canine, and they enjoy it.

I saw more this time too..do you hear clicking, when it happens ,or when she eats,….........or anytime?

I did see it that time too… not sure what to make of it... but it really didn't look serious to me... but I am certainly no Vet....

Nala does the same thing on occasion…she's now 9 and neurologically fine so far...er...except that she's a Basenji...LOL!

What a cutie your pup is!!

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